Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind With Amelia Bowe, Creative at Refinery29 UK

Amelia Bowe is a Creative at Refinery29 UK, a global media and entertainment company focused on celebrating women, their diverse voices and experiences.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your background and career?

I grew up in Australia’s second largest inland city Toowoomba, which I’ll spruik until the cows come home although the small city life was never for me. I then moved to Brisbane for university, followed by Sydney to kickstart my career.

It was in Sydney where I landed a gig at Cosmopolitan Australia after doing work experience. I became the Editor-In-Chief’s PA and the Editorial Coordinator for the whole team.

The online team at Cosmo really took me under their wing and soon enough I was writing beauty, health and lifestyle for the website.

After an almost three year stint at Cosmopolitan, I moved to an independent fully-integrated communications agency, Hyland, to work across the COTY mass, luxury and professional divisions.

This meant coming up with loads of beauty content ideas for incredible global brands and working closely with our media teams to bring them to life across TV, out-of-home, digital, social, experiential and everything in between.

I spent just over two years at Hyland before I decided to take on a new challenge and move to London.

Before I set off, I networked like nothing else to get coffees in the diary for as soon as I landed and messaged every second person on LinkedIn.

There was so much power in sharing my news – the more people I told about moving to London, the more connections I made.

During this time, I managed to land an interview at Refinery29 for a Creative position and haven’t looked back.

2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?

I’m currently a Creative at Refinery29 UK which is a media company helping women to see, feel and claim their power.

To do this, we produce a wide variety of content from politics to beauty and fashion. I work on co-branded content (when brands want to partner with Refinery29) and white label content (creative for brand-own channels).

3) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I wake up every week day around 6:30am or 7:00am and jump straight out of bed (I can’t deal with snoozing intervals). I can walk to the gym from my house (it’s only 15 minutes) so I treat that as my warm up before Pilates, yoga or dance.

When I get to my desk at about 9:30am after a further 10 minute walk from the gym, I’ll have breakfast and a coffee.

I’m on a creative team so we’ll usually spend some time first thing catching up on anything that’s inspired us, normally something we’ve watched/read the night before.

Generally speaking my day-to-day will involve anything from:

  • coming up with campaign ideas for brands
  • responding to briefs (lots of brainstorming)
  • being on location directing/creatively directing shoots
  • writing key messaging

I’m constantly collaborating with our strategist, other creatives and designers to get ideas off the ground.

If I’m not heading straight home after work, I’ll go to a drawing class or any kind of creative workshop. I keep social nights out to a maximum of two per week so I don’t get exhausted or spend too much money.

I always walk home as it’s the best way to decompress at the end of my day and I’ll normally use this time to call my family or friends back in Australia.

Once I’m home, I reset myself and “wash the day away” in the shower. Then my partner and I take turns cooking and we’ll watch some TV or a movie.

We LOVE films and it was our new year’s resolution to watch one documentary a week. Admittedly it was an ambitious resolution but we still watch something together pretty regularly.

Afterwards, I’ll head off to bed by 10:00pm or 10:30pm and repeat everything the next day.

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?

Normally I’ll do tasks that require the most brain power in the morning when I feel fresh and alert. I write lists at work (and thankfully have a project manager!) to help manage my workload.

At home, I try not to write lists and instead just do things when I think of them which has stopped a whole lot of procrastination in its tracks.

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5) In between your job, life and all your other responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?

I say ‘yes’ to so much, so the best way I’ve found some balance is learning that it’s OK to say ‘no.’ I try not to overcommit myself.

Living in London I’ve been making the most of long weekends and travel whenever I can as I find this reboots me for my real life schedule and gives me endless inspiration.

There’s also nothing quite like being in the ocean or swept up in another culture to realise just how insignificant you and your “problems” are in this huge and beautiful world.

6) What does work life balance mean to you?

Work life balance to me is listening to your own needs and wants and figuring out a routine (or non-routine) that works for you.

It’s also about being adaptable, just because something worked once before, doesn’t mean it will work everywhere or at all stages of your life.

I also try to be really present with whatever I’m doing.

Whether it’s actively listening during a conversation to enjoying the fragrance of a flower as I walk past it, I try to soak up and observe everything around me as it helps me feel more balanced and connected to others and the world.

When I catch myself zoning out and not paying attention during these moments, it’s generally a sign I’m feeling overwhelmed or run down and my work life balance is out.

7) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

Figuring out early on in my career that I’m a morning person has definitely helped contribute to my success. I’m most productive first thing, so if I have loads on I’ll come into the office early.

I’ve always played sport but for the last ten years I’ve been going to the gym and it’s helped me focus and feel mentally and emotionally balanced (and physically too!), meaning I’m always set up for a solid day if I workout.

I also love hearing peoples’ stories and making connections, so giving everyone the time of day is really important to me – you just never know who you’ll meet.

This approach has also meant I’ve never been afraid to reach out to people to ask for advice or feedback. It’s always been important for me to be vulnerable and put myself out there to grow.

8) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

To be honest, it’s only in the last few years I’ve really gotten into reading books (that was mostly because I hadn’t found a genre that spoke to me).

I mostly read fiction in my downtime, particularly thrillers, as this form of escapism helps me switch off (whilst simultaneously trying to solve the mystery!).

9) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

I have to have a shower every single morning – it’s where I focus on the day ahead.

Exercise also energises me and I’m always more productive after a workout, so I like to get to the gym to get the most out of my day.

10) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

It’s always helpful reading about how other people approach work, life and balance, but at the end of the day, you have to figure out what works for you.

You should also try to do things you’re passionate about.

There’s no set career path in the creative industries, so as long as you choose to work in roles or on projects you care about or serve some sort of meaningful purpose for you, you’ll always feel more on track, even when the future is unclear.

I don’t even think the role I’ll be taking on in 15 years exists yet, but I hope to continue combining my fascination with human behaviour with my creative streak.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.